The 28th Annual New Orleans Film Festival (NOFF) — held from October 11-19, 2017 — celebrated another a vibrant year of talent with stunning features and documentary films. In Louisiana, the festival is the longest-running of its kind and prides itself as the largest film festival in the South.
Over almost three decades, the film festival has grown into an internationally regarded event that draw 20-25,000 people a year, along with over 400 filmmakers and 240 films. It is also one of only a few film festivals that can quality for the Oscars in all three of its categories: Documentary short, animated short, and narrative short. Since 2012, it has been awarded the MovieMaker Magazine award of “Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee”; only one of two festivals to receive the honor for six years in a row.
Offering guests opportunities to connect with industry leaders, they help to facilitate meetings with distributors like Paramount, FilmBuff, and The Orchard as well as funders, broadcasters, and other film organizations like Kickstarter, the National Black Programming Consortium, ITVS, and the International Documentary Association among others.
Film on a Mission
The purpose of New Orleans Film Society is to cultivate, discover, and give voice to diverse viewpoints and the artistry of filmmakers who tell their stories. The organization produce Academy-accredited NOFF annually while investing year-round in nurturing a film culture in the South. These transformative experiences can help connect artists with audiences and career-promising resources. To celebrate diversity and inclusion, the film festival promises to:
- Accept 90% of the films from submissions; this ensures that NOFF remains a place of discovery, opportunity, and immersive experiences for viewers
- 50% or more of the film will be led by women and gender non-conforming filmmakers
- 35% will be helmed by filmmakers of color
Community and Connection
During the festivities of the New Orleans Film Festival, the organization also aims to create a unique community of industry professionals, cinephiles, and filmmakers at pop up events featured at preserved historic venues throughout the city. The Hollywood of the South begins after the Second Line parade performs before the premiere of the first film. Followed by late-night cocktails and live music at historic mansions or cinematic Mississippi River views, many leave the festival inspired with deep connections to the people and the scenery as they immerse themselves in art. This year, Kailas Companies’ Four Winds Luxury Apartments building, located in the Central Business District, hosted and sponsored NOFF’s opening night party.
Over 50 partnering non-profit organizations work with NOFS to offer free tickets and promote accessible screenings to help more New Oreleanians experiences these transformative works of art during the festival.
The 2017 Festival
This year’s festival was jammed packed with thought-provoking and genuine submissions. Check out the following winners:
Best Narrative Feature:
Jury Prize Winner: Victor’s History (dir. Nicholas Chevalier)
Special Jury Award: Rift (dir. Erlingur Thoroddsen)
Awarded by Jurors: Manuel Betancourt — Film critic/cultural reporter
Christine Dávila — Creative Executive at Warner Bros. Digital Networks’ original digital-first content brand, Stage 13
Aisha Harris, Culture writer/editor for Slate, Represent podcast
Best Documentary Feature:
Jury Prize Winner: Ask the Sexpert (dir. Vaishali Sinha)
Special Jury Award: Olancho (dir. Chris Valdés and Ted Griswold)
Awarded by Jurors: Leslie Fields-Cruz — Executive Director of the National Black Programming Consortium
PJ Raval, filmmaker;
Dolly Turner, producer and one of the founders of the Blackhouse
Best Louisiana Feature:
Jury Prize Winner: On Our Watch (dir. Jonathan Evans)
Special Jury Award: Woke (dir. Iman Shervington)
Awarded by Jurors: Julie Keck — Head of Education & Outreach at Seed&Spark
Anjanette Lavert — Journalist and documentary filmmaker
Leah Mahan — filmmaker/ NOFF alum
Best Narrative Short:
Jury Prize Winner: “Miss World” (dir. Georgia Fu)
Special Jury Award: “American Dream” (dir. Alexia Oldini)
Awarded by Jurors: Curran Nault — Artistic Director of OUTsider, LGBTQIA Multi-Arts festival in Austin, Texas
Kevin Niu, CEO and founder of Urus Entertainment
Ina Pira, film curator at Vimeo
Best Documentary Short
Jury Prize Winner: “The Rock” (dir. Hamid Jafari)
Special Jury Award: “Commodity City” (dir. Jessica Kingdon)
Awarded by Jurors: Kristen Fitzpatrick — Director of distribution, Women Make Movies
Merrill Sterritt — Head of Audience Strategies & Partnerships at Cinereach
Farihah Zaman — Filmmaker and Production Manager, Field of Vision
Jury Prize Winner: “The Noise of Licking” (dir. Nadja Andrasev)
Special Jury Award: “Summer Camp Island” (dir. Julia Pott)
Awarded by Jurors: Dustin Woehrmann, Owner/Creative Director at Community
Joi Tribble — Lead Short Film Programmer, Sidewalk Film Festival
Tom Brown — Filmmaker, NOFF alum
Filmmakers and cinema lover alike enjoy the unique spirit of the NOFF, especially in a city with an eclectic and international presence. Check out these inspiring films through their links and join us next year to discover the creativity both globally and locally in the Crescent City!